Kishanganga Hydroelectric Project: World Bank asks Pakistan to accept India's proposal to appoint neutral arbiter

The World Bank (WB) on Tuesday ended a wait of almost two years for an answer to the conflict between India and Pakistan regarding the Kishanganga Hydroelectric Project. The international institution has asked Pakistan to agree to India's proposal for the appointment of a neutral expert who would be able to suggest a resolution based on the technicalities of the project, instead of the International Court of Arbitration (ICA) as was Pakistan's demand, as reported by Dawn. The project includes a dam on the river Kishanganga, which is a tributary of the river Jhelum.

Engineers and workers work at the tunnels of Kishanganga power project in Gurez, north of Srinagar in this file photo. Reuters

Engineers and workers work at the tunnels of Kishanganga power project in Gurez, north of Srinagar in this file photo. Reuters

On 19 May, Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the project, amidst talks between the two countries with the WB as mediator. Pakistan has insisted, since the start of the project in 2003, that it violates the Indus Water Treaty between the two countries, which ensures a fair distribution of the river resources at the borders of both the countries. India has held its stance that the project, which is only some distance from the Line of Control (LOC), is within the pre-decided guidelines of the Treaty.

Attorney-General of Pakistan (AGP) Ashtar Ausaf Ali, led a delegation for a two-day meeting with the WB officials, to discuss Kishanganga and Ratle hydroelectric projects under the Indus Waters Treaty, as reported by The Express Tribune.

However, in light of the latest direction of the World Bank, official sources in Pakistan have said it would not be possible to accept the proposal as it would become a precedent for resolving other water disputes and the Court of Arbitration would not be established, reported The Express Tribune. Those water disputes would be more significant for Pakistan than the present project.

The 1960 Indus Waters Treaty

The treaty gives India control over three eatern rivers, which are the Beas, Ravi, and Sutlej. Pakistan controls the Indus, Chenab, and Jhelum rivers. India has argued, with the context of the treaty, that the Kishanganga Hydroelectric plant is exactly the 'run-of-the-river' hydel project that does not change the course of the river or deplete the level of the water downstream as is directed by the treaty. Pakistan has insisted that the Kishanganga project violates both conditions by changing the course of the river and depleting the water levels.

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Updated Date: Jun 05, 2018 12:40:29 IST

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